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Thursday, May 29

The Westville Dollhouse Day 1

Click on Newer Posts at the bottom of each page so you can see each day of the construction.

Don't forget to read all our How To Guides, listed to the left, for proper dollhouse assembly and finishing information.

The Westville By Greenleaf

The first thing I’m going to do is start building sub assemblies. I’m going to find each sub assembly in the instructions and begin putting them together so that when it's time to install them, they will be ready.

The best way to prepare your wood is to prime it with a primer or any flat white paint. Do not prime any wood you want to stain. This coat of paint will seal the wood just enough so that it doesn’t soak up all of your paint and wallpaper paste but it's still porous enough for you to be able to work with it. You can prime the areas that your going to paint but it's not necessary. Your first coat of paint basically acts as your primer.

I’m going to build the staircase first. That way I don’t have to worry about loosing all its small pieces. In these instructions the staircase is Step B so building it now, exactly as directed, will not impede with my build. It will just be finished and ready for installation when the instructions ask for it.

I’m going to paint this staircase in two different tones, so I have to paint everything before gluing it. You have to paint and stain the back side of this staircase as well as the front because there is a little under-staircase closet that will make the underside of the staircase visible once the dollhouse is done.

I stained the railing of the staircase wall. There’s no point of doing anything else to it because I plan on wallpapering the lower part later, once it's in.

I suggest you just put the stringers side to side and glue all the risers to them. This will hold them together and keep them from falling over. Let them dry some before putting the steps in. You have to square up the staircase before you do that. With only the risers attached to the stringers there is still movement in the staircase so you have time to make it square.

While the staircase is drying, I began gathering the parts for the walls. Most of the parts on this dollhouse are large parts. I suggest you mark them off the instructions as you find them, label each piece before taking it off the sheet and keep all the scraps left over in the box. Discard any pieces that are marked discard. That way you don’t confuse them with legitimate pieces like the closet door.

Once I prepared the wall and floor pieces, I went back to my staircase. It's time to finish putting it together because once these walls go up, it has to be inserted. I glued all the steps and then glued the staircase to the staircase wall. Make sure your slots are even and flush with each other. I used binder clips to clamp it tightly against the wall. As you can see, the staircase is completely finished on the underside because I painted and stained it on all sides first.

I always lightly sand my edges but it as completely up to you how much sanding you do. Some people like to sand a lot and others don’t. I sand the edges to remove splinters and rough parts but I basically like for the edges of my dollhouses to stay intact. It gives the dollhouse more detail with the edges are sharper.

I want to mention that there is a typo is the instructions. The Left Wall is located on sheet 4 not sheet 5. Remember there is a difference between Left Front Wall and Left Wall. The Left Front Wall is on sheet 5 but the instructions say that the Left Wall is also on that sheet but it isn’t. Check the schematics to verify, they are labeled correctly.

Putting the structure together is a little difficult because the walls will be sliding out of place since hot glue is not being used. All I can say is to work steadily, take your time and clamp with masking tape as you go along. It can be frustrating but let the walls pop off in some places if they have to, once ALL the walls are in place, the structure will stay together. The more walls you add, the more clamping areas you get so continue adding one wall after the other. Glue where they tell you to and don’t glue where they tell you not to. Even though I’m using tacky glue which takes a long while to dry, I’m following the glue instructions carefully because you will need leeway from certain walls when you get ready to install the staircase. You don’t want hard walls around your staircase opening.

The instructions do not have any photos of the Center Partition Extension Wall and how it goes so I took some photos of it.

The instructions say to install the completed staircase right before you get ready to install the Left Wall, but I’m not doing that. I don’t see any reason to and its only going to make construction harder. The shell is not ready for the staircase to go in. I have to prime and wallpaper the wall where the staircase goes into before I install it and I also have to stain the floors. I can't do that with this structure coming apart right now. I need the left wall in to stabilize the assembly.

The Left Wall will not inhibit you from installing the staircase later so get that wall in there. After it's in, this is where you stop assembly. Don’t add anything else to this shell. Clamp it all around and set it aside so it can dry a little. I won't be able to work on this shell anymore today. It has to dry over night. I used tacky glue to put it together because it's less runny that white or wood glue but once the shell is semi dry, I will reinforce all the joints of this structure with wood glue.

Before you put your assembly to the side, check all of your joints and make sure that nothing has slipped out of place and check for opening gaps. Clamp everything very well and tightly.

If you find that the first floor sags down a little in the middle, causing gaps in the joints between it and the wall, use the foundation piece to put underneath it at an angle and hold it up. The foundation piece is the perfect measurement to lift the floor.

Remember that wood glue does not dry clear. It dries yellow. Only tacky or white glue will dry clear so if your using traditional stain on your floors, do not add wood glue to the joints or you will see them. I’m using a faux stain made of acyclic paint so it will cover the glue. I’m also using skinny stick for baseboards so all the edges will be covered anyways.

Don’t glue the center partition wall to anything because the staircase will go on it and you will need it to move so you can fit it in there. Just glue all the other joints. Your dollhouse is only as strong as you make the shell. You need a good hard and sturdy shell in order for your dollhouse to not have problems.

























2 comments:

Midwesterner72 said...

Thank you for posting this. The pictures help SO MUCH! And your advice about stains & sealers was very helpful to a newbie like me. One idea I have in building my Westville is to add a basement on to the bottom of the house and add a down stairway below the staircase. I think it would be a really cool feature to use the doorway under the staircase to open to a basement stairway. The way the house is built I expect this to be a very easy addition to add. Just need to cut away the floor under the staircase and add a staircase leading down. Building a basement level should be easy and fun. You could build a custom table to put this house on and "sink" the basement level so that the first floor still appears as being ground level on the table. Then maybe add a little landscaping around the porch and sides of the house as well to make the basement appear even more underground. This is a magnificent house, though, with so many possibilities.

Dawn Wood said...

I just want to say thank you for all of your detailed information on the Westville dollhouse. I don't think I could have ever built it without all of your wonderful information.

 

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